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Santa spreads holiday joy at Boys & Girls
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Jaylen Jackson, 8, tells Santa Claus (Ben Jetton) his Christmas wish at Monday’s annual holiday event at the Boys and Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin
Jaylen Jackson played several games while enjoying a slice of pizza at Monday’s annual Christmas party at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Manteca/Lathrop.
A student at Joshua Cowell School, the 8-year-old Manteca youngster knew the best was yet to come.
After all, Santa Claus was coming to town.
Santa, in this case, was none other than Ben Jetton.
In fact, he’s the same Santa at the corner who’s been hearing wishes of children of all ages at Main Street and Yosemite Avenue for the past two years.
Jetton has played the role for better part of eight years, getting his start by helping students in the special education programs.
Jackson, who attended the holiday function with his 6-year-old sister, Jayda, and his young uncle, Charles McClain, 11, according to his grandmother, Mona McClain, told Santa his Christmas wish.
“I want a (GI Joe) action figure,” he said.
After visiting Santa, Boys & Girls Club members were given a chance to pick out their free gift made possible by the U.S. Marine Toys For Tots Foundation and the Bass Pro Shops.
Jesus Ceja, 11, was among the first in the line for the gifts located in the Crutchfield Center’s teen room.
He earned the special privilege by helping out at the Christmas party.
A student at Golden West School, Ceja had his pick of the litter, selecting a radio-controlled vehicle.
Those helping out received recognition by club officials.
Ceja’s brother, Francisco, along with Kylie Padilla, Britney Rickets, Alyssa Medeiros, Brandy Baldovino, Alexis Baldovino, J.R. Reed and Mark McCool were among those doing their part.
According to Jon Cardoza, director of operations, about 120 club members between the ages of 6 through 16 were in attendance.
Besides the assortment of games, they also took part in decorating cookies and making marshmallow men.
Kimberly Baldovino, who is the administrative assistant, noted that the cookies were donated by Melissa MacNeilage, with help coming from Kathy Aartman-Weed and Mrs. Cardoza.
Save-Mart at Yosemite Avenue donated the icing used for the decoration.
In addition, Kimberly Baldovino was overwhelmed by the pizza donation from local businesses such as Guido’s, Little Caesar’s, Papa Murphy’s, Round Table at Spreckels Park, Sicily’s and Milano’s.